Jacques Kallis nears century with Durban Test in the balance

Jacques KallisSouth Africa's Jacques Kallis celebrates scoring a half century during the third day of the second cricket test match against India in Durban, December 28, 2013. REUTERS

Jacques Kallis inched closer to scoring a century in his final Test after guiding South Africa to 299 for five before rain and bad light brought a premature end to the third day of the second Test against India on Saturday.

Kallis, who is playing his final Test before retiring, faced 224 balls for his unbeaten 78 in what could be his last test innings. He took the Proteas to within 35 of India's first innings score.

The 38-year-old notched up his 87th half-century in Tests and will resume day four with nightwatchman Dale Steyn (zero not out).

South Africa lost JP Duminy (28) just before the close, one of four wickets for Indian spinner Ravindra Jadeja (four for 87).

All-rounder Kallis was the junior partner in an excellent fourth-wicket stand of 127 with AB de Villiers (74) that got South Africa out of trouble earlier in the day.

De Villiers, who bagged a century to help save the first Test in Johannesburg and has amassed at least 50 in each of his last 10 test matches, looked fluent again as he scored all around the ground before edging to Virat Kohli at first slip off the bowling of Jadeja.

The South African vice-captain said it was a privilege to spend so much time at the crease with Kallis.

"I personally have a lot of fond memories batting with Jacques, I scored my first Test hundred with him when he was at the wicket, I was there for both his double-hundreds," De Villiers said in a pitchside interview.

"He has meant so much to me in my career, I probably wouldn't be here today if it wasn't for all the advice (he gave me) on and off the field throughout my career."

The pair steadied the innings after a mini-collapse in the morning session when the hosts lost three wickets for 10 runs.

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